“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This oft-recited mantra sums up why many of us who feel constrained in 9-5 jobs find the prospect of freelance life so appealing. Yes, the prospect, not necessarily the life itself, which might not quite live up to your expectations.
Still, you can’t be certain until you give it a try. However, like with taking up regular swimming, you risk sinking and putting yourself off the big change if you don’t take certain precautions.
Make sure you have some savings
“If possible, have savings or some financial support to get by for a few months,” urges Thomas Ali, the co-owner of spice range business Freshly Spiced. He further explained to the Independent: “While you may have lots of sales coming in, you may find you have one slower month or some unexpected expenses that you hadn’t planned for.”
Similarly, freelance illustrator and comic artist Cath Garvey warns that you could face “a slow start” with getting your dream off the ground, which leads nicely onto…
“Sample” the freelance life before jumping straight in
“My best tip would be to start it as a side hustle before making the full jump,” says Ryan Scollon, a freelance worker in search engine optimization. “It can be a big shock when you get close to payday and realize you don’t have that big paycheque that you have become accustomed to in your full-time job.” He singles out evenings and weekends as good times to dip your toes in the freelance waters.
Choose a routine, not just a job, you love
Yes, that’s referring back to the common saying mentioned at the start of this article. Regardless of what sector you work in, self-employment isn’t strictly for everyone – though you might find that, once you have discovered a routine that works well for you, freelance working feels much easier.
Entrepreneur contributor Neil Patel wisely points out that “we all have to do some work that is unpleasant”, so you shouldn’t expect self-employment to be just “endless euphoria”.
Draw a line between your home life and work
Sadly, if you’ve got a partner and kids under your roof, you could find that they often interrupt you as you try to get down to work. No, not necessarily interrupting you intentionally; they just assume that, as you are literally at home, chatting to you about home-related stuff is fair game.
You could try setting a boundary by locking your home office door when you are working.
Look for a friendly community of people to join
Loneliness is a lingering risk of working alone. In a survey reported by the Guardian, almost 40% of freelancers admitted to having left lonely in their self-employment.
Perhaps you could start a social group on Facebook, or rent a serviced office from BE Offices, letting you meet other businesspeople using the same building. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that, contrary to myth, working for yourself is not always lonely.